RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017: The Show Gardens

The RHS Malvern Spring Festival is one of the big gardening events of the Spring. I paid a visit to the show in 2017, and loved the beautiful show gardens.

'At One With...' won the Best in Show award at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

Updated 30/04/2018

For me, heading off to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival means that Spring has arrived, even if the weather is still a bit hit and miss. It’s one of the first RHS shows of the year, and I love seeing what plants and design features are going to be popular.

So I was very excited to be invited to attend this year’s show.

Click here to take a look at the Floral Marquee and other attractions at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

Malvern is about a 90 minute drive from where I live, and on the day of my visit the sky was looking quite overcast.

It was forecast to get better later on, so I just had to cross myfingers and hope for the best. A brief squally shower on the way to the Three Counties Showground didn’t do much to inspire my confidence!

The large crowds weren't going to let showery weather spoil their fun at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

It was definitely on the chilly side when we arrived, but there was so much to see that I soon forgot the weather. The showground was full of people keen to make the best of the day and explore the show.

I decided to head straight to the show gardens while the weather was still dry.

The Retreat

'The Retreat' won a Silver-Gilt medal at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

This garden brings to mind a relaxed spa surrounding at a retired couple’s French home. Somehow I don’t think the grey Malvern weather really did justice to this garden. I could definitely imagine relaxing in the spa on a warm summer’s day though. The Retreat won a Silver-Gilt Medal from the RHS judges.

At One With…

'At One with...' won a coveted Gold Medal at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

Next we went to one of the Gold medal winning gardens. This is designed as a space within a larger garden to be used for meditation, yoga or just to relax in.

I love the way this garden uses plenty of beautiful trees to add privacy. Even in the hustle and bustle of the Three Counties Showground, it feels very calm.

Peter Dowle, one of the designers of the Best in Show garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

As you can see, the meditation area is a circular, sunken area next to the pool. The garden has a very relaxing, restorative feel about it. Peter Dowle (pictured above) and Richard Jasper from Howle Hill Nursery were worthy winners of the Best Show Garden award.

The Molecular Garden

'The Molecular Garden' won a Gold Medal and Best Spa Garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

This year’s Festival also featured a new category, the Spa Gardens. The garden in the photo above was the winner in this category. It’s a secluded relaxation area for guests enjoying the spa facilities at a Russian resort. This garden won a Gold Medal for its designers, Kluvka. It was certainly drawing large crowds when I was at the show.

It’s inclusion in the show is the result of  an exchange programme between the RHS Malvern Spring Festival and Moscow Flower Show.

The Molecular Garden was the Russian entry to this year’s Malvern show. And a British design will be brought to life at the Moscow Flower Show later this month.

The Buckfast Abbey Millennium Garden

A beautiful stag in the 'Buckfast Abbey Millennium Garden' at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

So much work goes into the show gardens, and I love looking at the hard landscaping as much as the plants. This metal stag in the Buckfast Abbey Millennium Garden is stunning, especially set against the beautiful silver birch trees.

A Garden Framed

'A Garden Framed' at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

And I was also taken by the use of wood in Tim Lawrence’s A Garden Framed. I think the planting really pops against the timber frame, and the tree in the centre of the background brings added drama to the design.

While I was viewing this garden, I noticed an artist was painting the scene in front of him. I popped over to say hello and take a look at his work.

Tom Genders captures 'A Garden Framed' on canvas at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

I loved the idea of something as temporary as a show garden being captured on canvas.

Tom Genders creates gorgeous paintings of trees, and you can see more of Tom’s work over on his website.

The Refuge (Garden)

'The Refuge (Garden)' is in aid of Help Refugees UK. It won a Gold Medal at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

I also loved this garden which was designed in support of Help Refugees UK. You can find out more about this charity on their website.

The planting in this garden brings to mind the British countryside. The path which winds its way through the garden represents the dangerous route that refugees have to travel to reach the safety of the UK. The garden shows the UK as a place where refugee families can start to heal and grow in safety.

I love this garden and the meaning behind it. I also love the hard landscaping at the back of the garden – that pizza oven and dining area are gorgeous! The Refuge (Garden) earned its designers a well deserved Gold Medal at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

And the final garden that I’m going to mention in this post isn’t a show garden at all.

The Health and Wellbeing Garden

The new Health and Wellbeing Garden at the Three Counties Showground was designed by Jekka McVicar. It was opened at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

Jekka McVicar’s Health and Wellbeing Garden is a new permanent feature at the Three Counties Showground.

Jekka is well known for her expert knowledge of herbs, and this garden is full of herbs and plants that benefit mind and body. The garden aims to promote wellbeing and the planting is also beneficial to bees, butterflies and other insects.

The Health and Wellbeing garden was commissioned by Pathways, a day service for adults with learning difficulties. Their members will be looking after the garden, and I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the years.

I loved looking around the Show Gardens at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. Which is your favourite garden?

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